Probably, if Cinderella hadn’t had her tailor-made shoes, crafted by her Fairy Godmother, finding the Prince Charming would have been more difficult.
Unfortunately, the Fairy Godmother’s contact details seem to be a Disney exclusive, and we have to be satisfied with our industrial shoes that, once lost, will certainly not unleash the curiosity of princes or princesses.
This is true if you settle for a lazy tour of the most popular shops. If you move into the side streets of the center, if you look for Milanese craftsmen, or even if you simply keep on reading this article, you will discover that the city is full of Fate Godmothers disguised as shoemakers, who work with strings and soles to create the best handmade shoes, unique and precious. Discover the best handmade shoes stores in Milan!
At number 9 of Via Belfiore, near the red metro station of Wagner, there is a sign that says “House founded in 1953”. It is since then, in fact, that Belfiore has been crafting hand-made shoes. Today, it’s Gianalberto Pontiggia, together with his wife Nadia and his son Luca, who manage the store.
Heir to generations of craftsmen, the family Pontiggia welcomes its customers in a space where the shoe is the undisputed star, offering his clients an excellent quality at an affordable price. The results are brogues, loafers, lace-up shoes: if you ask, you can also have your initials imprinted on the sole. www.calzaturebelfiore.com
Opened in 1925, the Savoia Stivaleria retains the technical secrets of the founders, master shoemakers who used to produce boots for the Savoy Cavalry Regiment: theirs was a stylish yet strong shoe, which could withstand the worst weather conditions, as well as the worst rumors of a nobleman living-room. Ninety years have passed, yet the artisans of Stivaleria Savoy continue to make unique shoes, characterized by the double aspect of elegance and comfort that distinguishes them. www.stivaleriasavoia.it
1883 Via del Gesù, Milan. Enrico Rivolta, skilled craftsman, founded the shoe shop Calzoleria Rivolta, which produced handmade shoes. Immediately, the Calzoleria Rivolta stood out for its refined excellence.
Before the Second World War, the atelier Rivolta moved to Via Verri, where Enrico’s son, Franco, started to manage it. Guido Vergani’ s The Dictionary of Fashion, recalls Franco Rivolta: ““Then, through a glass door, a theatrical entrance made flesh, a living coup-de-théâtre, he would arrive, small, smiling, fast-moving, with tousled white hair. He wore a white lavallièr e bow tie with white polka dots.
Physically, he was somewhere between Arturo Toscanini and Charlie Chaplin’s Calvero from Limelight. Rivolta’s last produced shoes gave every man’s foot an unrivalled slenderness.” With the economic boom of the ’60s, Rivolta’s creations of become a benchmark for male elegance. And, today, this has not changed: Rivolta footwear has kept its craft traditions of the late 1800s, by enriching them from year to year with technical specialties, allowing the creation of a unique and valuable object. www.calzoleriarivolta.com
It was 1930 and Paolo Ortigni, along with his neighbors, both employees and workers, met to cut, drill and sew leather to produce work shoes. When, in 1934, his son Allegro was born, Paolo understood his job and his ability had to outlive him: Allegro learned his father’s job and, in 1955, they opened together a shoe store.
Every week, Paolo used to go to Turin with a suitcase full of handmade shoes and he would not come back until he had sold them all. Today, Allegro’s children treasure their father and grandfather’s know-how so that, two generations later, Paolo’s craft skills are still alive. Stefano Ortigni remembers his father: “I still remember the hands of our father moving the seam between the leather and the soles. One by one, my brothers and I, we watched those movements, which have finally become ours”. ortigni.it